Ready or not, Christmas is just around the corner. The holiday season is a great time to snuggle up together and share a good book as a family. Here are a few of my favorite Christmas books.
Christmas Day in the Morning by Pearl S. Buck
This is the story of a farm boy who gives his father a very special gift from the heart on Christmas morning. The illustrations in this edition of the touching tale capture the feeling of a simpler (but not easier) time.
Night Tree by Eve Bunting
This is a warm story of a family who makes a pilgrimage into the woods each Christmas to decorate a tree for the wild animals.
The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski
A widow and her young son ask Mr. Toomey, a gruff but gifted woodcarver, to carve them the figures for a Christmas creche.
The Trees of the Dancing Goats by Patricia Polacco
During a scarlet fever epidemic one winter in Michigan, a Jewish family helps make Christmas special for their sick neighbors by making their own Hanukkah miracle. Based on a memory from the author's childhood.
The Borrowed Hanukkah Latkes by Linda Glaser
Okay, this isn't a Christmas book, but it's a great holiday story celebrating the joy of giving and reaching out to our neighbors. As Rachel and her mother are busy with preparations for the Hanukkah celebration, Rachel is determined to find a way to convince their lonely elderly neighbor to share the holiday with them.
Christmas in the Trenches by John McCutcheon
Based upon true events of World War I, this book tells the extraordinary story of a Christmas Eve on the battlefields of France when British and German soldiers declared an inpromptu Christmas truce and celebrated the holiday together.
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson
In this hilarious chapter book the Nativity story will never be the same when the six unruly Herdman children decide to take part in the church's annual Christmas pageant. Funny and touching.
Are you a fan of the Caldecott Award-winning novel The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick? Then you won't want to miss the movie based upon this wonderful book. The movie version is simply entitled Hugo and is directed by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Martin Scorsese. You can watch the movie trailer below and then go see the film playing at your local theater. Of course, if you haven't yet read the book, you need to get on the waiting list! It's a masterpiece.
The holiday season has officially begun, and for many people that means finding those special gifts for the people on their shopping lists. The Children's Services staff at the Main Library and Indian Creek Branch would like to offer you some suggestions. Each year we pick out some of our favorite children's books that have been added to the library's collection in the past year. Our list includes picture books, chapter books, easy readers, comics, and nonfiction titles. There may be a few old favorites thrown in for good measure too. Click here to download a copy of our picks list, or pick up a copy at either Olathe library. Both libraries will also have copies of the books on display for you to peruse. However, the copies on display will not be available for check out until after the end of the year. We are always happy to see if copies might be available from another library and request any titles for you.
Hollywood continues to look to the world of children's books for upcoming movie projects. Two more popular children's book characters have just joined the roster of soon-to-be movie stars!
Fans of Captain Underpants will be happy to know that the pudgy underwear-clad superhero will soon be flying across the big screen. Dreamworks Animation has acquired the rights to turn the popular book series into an animated feature. They've been pursuing the author Dav Pilkey for the movie rights since 1997, and he finally decided the time was right.
Fans of Hank the Cowdog are also in for a treat. Hank, who has been the star of 58 books by John R. Erickson, will soon be making his big screen debut as well. Odyssey Pictures has acquired the rights to produce an animated movie of the much loved canine Head of Ranch Security. It is sure to be a hit with the whole family.
Both of these projects are in the early stages of development, so you have plenty of time to read the books before the movies hit the theaters. We can only hope that the movies will be as good as the books!
The newest series of American Girl books features not one girl but two! Meet Marie-Grace and Cécile. The setting of the books is New Orleans in 1853. Marie-Grace is the daughter of a doctor who recently moved to New Orleans. Cécile comes from a prosperous family of free people of color. The two girls form an unlkely friendship as a yellow fever epidemic sweeps through the city. This new American Girl series is filled with inspiring lessons of compassion, courage, and friendship.
Meet Marie-Grace by Sarah Masters Buckey
Meet Cécile by Denise Lewis Patrick
Marie-Grace and the Orphans by Sarah Masters Buckey
Troubles for Cécile by Denise Lewis Patrick
Marie-Grace Makes a Difference by Sarah Masters Buckey
Cécile's Gift by Denise Lewis Patrick
Each year during the last week of September libraries across the country celebrate Banned Books Week, an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment. This year Banned Books Week runs from September 24 - October 1.
The American Library Association compiles a list of the top ten most challeneged or banned books each year. Over the past ten years here are some of the children's books that have made that notorious list.
- Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
- Scary Stories series by Alvin Schwartz
- Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey
- And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
- Olive's Ocean by Kevin Henkes
- The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
- It's Perfectly Normal by Robie H. Harris
- In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
- Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
- Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor
- Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
Did any of your favorite books make the list? Aren't you glad we have the freedom to read what we want? Here at the library we think it is worth celebrating. Celebrate Banned Books Week!
If you are a fan of the "Wimpy Kid" books and have been anxiously anticipating the next title in this series, your wait is almost over. The fifth book entitled The Ugly Truth will be released next week. (It's purple!) In this new book the hilarious pressures of life inÂ middle school test Greg Hefflly's friendship with his best pal Rowley. There is already a waiting list for this book, but you can get your name on the list by placing a hold in our web catalog or by calling the library.
If you love dogs and you love books, then you're in luck! Children's books are full of dogs. There's Kipper and Spot and Angus and Carl. There's Clifford the Big Red Dog and Harry the Dirty Dog. There's Biscuit and Mudge. There's Skippyjon Jones (oh wait, that's a cat who thinks he's a dog). There's Ribsy and Old Yeller. There's even Walter the Farting Dog. The list goes on and on. Two of my favorites are Martha the talking dog from the picture books by Susan Meddaugh and Winn-Dixie from Because of Winn-Dixie. Do you have a favorite literary canine? Leave us a comment and tell us who your favorite "book dog" is.
Anyone who has ever read Charlotte's Web will be very familiar with Garth Williams's wonderful illustrations in that book. Who can think of Wilbur or Charlotte or Fern without picturing the artist's pen and ink drawings? The late Mr. Williams also illustrated such children's classics as Stuart Little, The Cricket in Times Square, and all of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Little House books. This month the family of Mr. Williams put 42 of his original drawings up for sale at an art auction. The original illustration for the cover of Charlotte's Web sold for $155,530! That's sure a lot of money, but for fans of E.B. White's classic story, the illustrations will always be priceless.
The votes have been counted and the winners have been announced!Â
The winning title for 3rd - 5th graders is How to Steal a Dog by Barbara O'Connor.Â Living in the family car in their small North Carolina town after their father leaves them virtually penniless, GeorginaÂ feelsÂ desperate to improve their situation.Â Unwilling to accept her overworked mother's calls for patience, Georgina persuades her younger brother to help her in an elaborate scheme to get money by stealing a dog and then claiming the reward that the owners are bound to offer.
Â The winning title for 6th - 8th graders is Cracker!: The Best Dog in Vietnam by Cynthia Kadohata.Â This is a stirring, realistic story of America's war in Vietnam, using the alternating viewpoints of an army "bomb sniffing"Â dog named CrackerÂ and her 17-year-old handler, Rick.